"William Shakespeare was gay" | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper

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A top theatre director has suggested that William Shakespeare might have been gay.


Greg Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, suggested that the playwright’s ‘outsider’ perspective might offer clues about his sexuality.

He added that Victorian academics were embarrassed by the possibility of England’s most celebrated bard being gay, so they ‘whitewashed’ his sonnets.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Doran said: ‘I guess a growing understanding of Shakespeare as I have worked with him over the many years that I have, makes me realise that his perspective is very possibly that of an outsider.

‘It allows him to get inside the soul of a black general, a Venetian jew, an Egyptian queen or whatever and perhaps that outsider perspective has something to do with his sexuality.’

He added that clues can be found in the 154 sonnets that Shakespeare wrote, which focus on themes like love and beauty.

Out of the 154, 126 are addressed to a young man.

Doran accused Victorian academics of heterosexualising the playwright and changing the pronouns in his sonnets.

He said: ‘It wasn’t somehow kosher for the great national bard to possibly have affectations for his own sex and therefore that process, to kind of whitewash through the sonnets.

‘I am just aware of how many times Shakespeare has gay characters, and how sometimes those gay characters are not played as gay, and I think in the 21st century that’s no longer acceptable.’

Debate about Shakespeare’s sexuality has raged for years, despite records showing the bard married at 18 and fathered three children with his wife Anne Hathaway.

Academics and scholars clashed about the issue in the Times Literary Supplement three years ago.

Sir Brian Williams provoked the argument by claiming that sonnet 116 appeared in a ‘primarily homosexual context’.

But Sir Stanley Wells, a Shakespeare scholar at the University of Birmingham, told the Telegraph: ‘Shakespeare was certainly not exclusively gay.

‘But he was pretty certainly bisexual and actively so. The strongest evidence comes from the sonnets, in some of which he writes of a triangular relationship with a man and a woman.’

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. If Shakespeare was gay, wetin be my concern? Abeg, make una go look bush.

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  3. If Shakespeare was gay, wetin be my concern? Abeg, make una go look bush.

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  4. Why should Shakespeare's sexuality matter at this time? If academics have nothing to be preoccupied with let them try to be creative the way Shakespeare did.

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